Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Deja vu right into the future

So, my grown son came home to a quiet house and says it totally freaked him out. Said for a minute he thought he had just walked into his grandmother's house. "I almost expected to see her knitting or something," he laughed. Instead, I walk in here and it's you sitting there, instead of knit one purl two, it's blog one Tweet two.

The more things change the more they stay the same.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Leaving on a slow train, don't know when I'll be back again

We are leaving tomorrow with kids and grandbaby to join us in NY at great-grandma's house. Long dreamed-of trip by train culminating with 6 hour layover in DC on Memorial Day. Have laptop, will blog. CU on the flip-side. (boy does that saying date me!)

eBay blog-o-sphere has evaporated

You will notice some of my posts have old dates at the top of the body. That is because eBay has announced the end of the eBay blog will happen this month, October 2009. I had written a few posts and wanted to keep them for future reference, so I parked them here. Since I am not monetizing this blog at this time, I doubt if anyone cares that they are out of date. If someone objects, too bad. That's the way it is!

As to eBay eliminating the blogs from their site. I am sorry to say, it needed to be done. The original purpose it served has been far too polluted by those who prefer to complain about their problems with eBay and PayPal (whether or not it was their own fault) and the negativity and drama weren't doing anyone any good.

Yes, there is freedom of speech. That means, if you want to post negative comments about eBay and PayPal, do it on your own blog. Don't expect the business you are complaining about provide you the space and platform for you to complain against them. That is just dumb! Would you expect JC Penney to allow you to put up a negative poster on the bulletin board inside their store? Of course not!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

What's with PayPal

I have to brag that I was able to reach my sales goal for the first time ever at the close of July. Just in time for my 2nd anniversary selling on eBay. Or at least I will when USPS sends the check for an insurance claim where they lost the GOLD WATCH I sold. Can you believe it?  I don't know whether the small box slipped through the cracks legitimately or someone saw the insurance notice and the confirmation signature required and figured, "hmmm, this will fit under my raincoat won't it!" but it never reached its S. Park Ave. NY, destination. The best part of this is my buyer was a real trooper throughout the search and didn't even contact me that it was missing for 2 WEEKS. I had been checking the status for over a week when he finally emailed me and calmly asked for a status report. Fortunately I was covered by PayPal Seller Protection because I had done everything they require of a seller so my PayPal fees were refunded.

Then there was the CHARGEBACK! Oh, yeah! Again, it was a PalPal transaction all the way and I had sent the package Priority and Insured as the buyer requested - within 24 hours of payment receipt, actually. And they must have decided they really didn't want it. I called PayPal and explained the situation and how I had checked the buyers history and saw that they primarily bought items of this type and price. PayPal assured me that I had done everything just right. Within the week my "held" payment reverted to cleared and the case was closed in my favor. Then the strangest thing happened. The very next day after the case was closed, the package arrived at my door, unopened, marked "return to sender." Guess the seller thought if they returned the package that would solve everything and I would refund their money. ummmm, NO! This buyer did not ever contact me even though I sent at least 3 emails reporting status of the item and thanking them for paying instantly by PayPal.

Thanks PayPal!

Gold Fever - 2008 Style - Cha Ching!

The old prospectors with their pick axes have been replaced by a modern version. These prospectors come equiped with internet savvy and an eye for the real thing.
I knew the price of gold had skyrocketed, but when my husband's dentist remarked that his worn gold crown could net us a tank full of gasoline, I was impressed!
I didn't realize that dental gold is usally pure 18K and fetches a nice price until I researched completed listings on eBay. Once I had determined the average price per gram and weighed out the valuable little chunk of gold, I determined the price at about $50 and designed a listing I hoped would attract a buyer.
I listed it at $49.99 (fixed price) and even went the extra 35 cents for an enlarged view of the gallery shot and kept the shipping low (actually I charged about 32 cents less than cost).
The last thing before signing off at 9:30 pm, I hit the POST button and my item went live. I never even got to admire my handiwork. Imagine my surprise this morning when I discovered it had sold overnight... and been PAID FOR instantly by PayPal (I now require electronic payment on all items).
Two HOURS! That is a new record. I am almost as impressed as when we sold a house in less than 24 hours.
Okay, so it is in the box, with the shipping label affixed, I have left glowing positive feedback and now off to the Post Office! I am going to try and beat the delivery record.
I will not think that I should have used auction format and might have gotten more. No, NO, NOOOOO! That would spoil my thrills right now.

Palin Stumps through Cabbage Patch to WIN the Race

It's almost 7am and I am watching the race closely.
The lady in red is ahead of all the guys by 2 laps with 57 bids and a top price of $3,550 and there are 4 days yet to go!  Obama has a slight lead ($1,075) over McCain (at $1,025) and Biden pulls up the rear at a meager $610.
I'm wondering what this says in political terms. Not a close race here on eBay for sure. The popular vote would have a woman in the White House if this is any indication. But who would expect different results in a FREE MARKET world like eBay?
What it says in terms of social media is this: eBay can (and does) draw a lot of attention to a cause in a way that is FUN.
Whoever makes the final bid on these dolls can feel good about winning one of the most collectible dolls of the decade and Marine Toys for Tots will happily accept the proceeds from Auction Cause (who is listing the auction) to give a lot of kids a reason to smile this holiday season.
 Bid ON!

No fear shipping & handling

If you have ever sold something big enough to wheel into the Post Office you may appreciate this.
Now that my ankle is mostly healed, I had no use for the portable wheelchair. Not that I used it anyway. I had dreamed of getting my dog to pull me down to the park for our twice daily strolls, but he just zig-zagged me out into the street. Say goodbye dream.
Anyway, after a very short time as a fixed price item, it sold for my asking price of $150 with $65 shipping charges. I had determined these rates by researching previously sold portable wheelchairs of the same brand and model as well as current offerings.
For once I thought I had figured it about right and told the UPS franchise store operator, yes, I had charged the buyer $65 for shipping. She shook her head and asked for 20 minutes to figure out how they could box and send it for me. She was still shaking her head as we walked out the door and my stomach began to churn.
After nearly 30 minutes, my cell phone rang and I was told the bad news. It would cost at least $250 to ship, IF they could find the right boxes.
We beat a hasty retreat pushing the chair back to the car and spent the rest of the day searching for boxes, cutting boxes, disassembling the chair and fitting it into boxes until I thought we could ship it within budget or close to cost at least.
Next day, we trooped down to the Post Office with 3 very different boxes in graduated sizes. (I believe in shipping GREEN). We weighed and measured the biggest box first. The verdict did not make me happy $85 for just this box and it would not arrive for 8-9 days. I had failed to take dimensional measurement as Length + Width + Girth. 
On to the UPS Customer Center (not a franchise this time) and another fresh experience. 5-6 people were already in the tiny room pecking away at terminals as they stood at counters. This was a new experience to me, but with a little help from other customers, I managed to get my shipping label printed for each of the 3 boxes. When my turn came, I held my breath. The clerk weighed and measured each box and confidently slapped labels on them and dispatched them before she gave me the price. Panic was setting in!
Just before my face turned blue she took my PayPal debit card and said that will be $82.60 and your packages should be delivered December 1st.
HooRAY! I could stand to eat the $16.50 but I was still left with one nagging worry. What if the recipient was disabled and living alone with no one to help her assemble the chair?
I sent her an email with the tracking numbers and instructions given to me in an email from UPS and my usual "hope you like it... please give me 5 stars..." message. At the beginning of the email I told her my concern that I had hoped to get it to her by Thanksgiving so there would be a good chance of having visitors that might be able to help her assemble it. I also gave assembly instructions.
The angels were with me and touched her heart! I opened my email early this morning and got a very nice reassuring email from this wonderful buyer telling me putting the chair together should be no problem and wishing me a Happy Thanksgiving too.
This will be one more thing on my list of things to be thankful for!

Tales from Gram-eBay


I listed 29 ceramic pieces over the last two days and with every item I thought of my former mother-in-law and her ceramics shop. I still have most of the pieces she and I made in that little shop where she taught and sold her craft. At Christmas the Holy Family is first on display and last to be put away after the holidays. Next most precious is the Santa with sleigh and 3 reindeer. Those poor deer have had all their legs broken and mended over the years.

These are mostly  bisque ceramic pieces, ready to stain or glaze and fire. They came to me from an estate sale. The lady who poured them was a very talented craftsman and these were packed away very carefully in the 1980s when she became ill and unable to finish them. There are no duplicates. A few of the pieces are finished with glaze.

The only thing left now is a large set of dinnerware that is also ceramic bisque. Only one piece of the dinnerware is completed, probably as an example. These pieces are retro-modern, square shaped and smooth simplicity.